Boomkat Product Review:
Jimmy Edgar and Travis Stewart (Machinedrum) lather up in iridescent greaze and get down with slippery mutations of R&B, electro-soul and hip hop on their debut J-E-T-S album
“There is “Potions,” which chops and warps the militaristic funk that Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis once supplied for Janet Jackson. It’s what Rihanna should be asking her A&Rs for her next album: 32nd Century bass music with huge drums offering the propulsion and thrust that SpaceX is permanently seeking. “Fire Fly” is both gothic and gauzy, with pop synthesizers crushed into purple cosmic dust. The album was produced in layers, starting with basic tracks that sounded like futuristic R&B, but then deconstructed and assembled with vintage instruments—encoded with a new DNA that can’t be decrypted.
“Look Out” is a slice of post-trap futuristic R&B with a traditional hip-hop breakdown that almost recalls vintage turntablism. “Play” features exotic percussion and Mykki Blanco breathing fire like the ideal soundtrack to a reboot of Paris is Burning. “Ocean PPL” answers the question what would Aaliyah sound like in 2019. While “Real Truth” synthesizes jerkin’, ratchet, hyphy and dance music into something that resembles the avant-garde hip-hop beats that Edgar and Machinedrum have made for Vince Staples and Azealia Banks.
Yet the proceedings feel quintessentially different and skewed from anything past or present. 808 drum rolls are warped and bent. Old samples offer a gritty sound. The melodies incorporate ambient and new age synths. Effects from the ‘70s and ‘80s offer welcomed scuffs and creases. This is the world of J-E-T-S, a hybridization of different and distinct ideas, fearless, fast-paced and full of telepathic communication, but playful and without pretension. The future we’d dreamed about, not the one that we deserved.”